SEDONA, Arizona – In 1989, when I was 19 and my sister, Lizzie, was 25, we pointed our Reeboks toward Tuscon, Arizona, for a weight loss week at Canyon Ranch. It was 100 degrees in the shade that August (can you say summer discount?), so we were Sweatin' to the Oldies between power walks at dawn and 25-minute aerobic dance classes in the A/C. I remember it being too hot to lay out and I remember wearing a bathrobe to meals, where we scribbled calorie counts into little journals. I can't remember having any treatments. But I do remember this: I learned that spa "vacations" are no vacation for me. Next time, my sister and I went on a cruise — but that's a whole other story.
Cut to the 2000s, and I am a freelance writer being paid to report on Earth-shatteringly important topics like spas. It's an enviable job, I know. But new age music makes me anxious, as does lying still for too long. Combine the two, deprive me of wine, and I'm fit to be tied.
So why, you might ask, did I choose to spend a vacation week (four nights) and my hard-earned cash ($3,000) returning to a spa in Arizona this February? Easy: I went to spend time with my dear friend Laura. And she wanted a place where it was warmer than New York. There you have it: Mii Amo in Sedona, Arizona.
I was skeptical from the start. The packages at Mii Amo are called Journeys, with names like Spiritual Exploration and Rites of Passage, and they include an array of services that go up and beyond your everyday Swedish, like Past Life Regression, Cranial Sacral, and Astrology with Crystals.
Crystals figure prominently in the Mii Amo journey — this is Sedona, after all. Every morning, you "set your intentions for the day" in a round room called the Crystal Grotto while staring at a rock sculpture and inhaling burning sage.
One thing I had learned from my varied experiences writing about them is that you must give in to a spa's rhythm, rituals, nomenclature, and aesthetic — in order to understand and, more to the point, enjoy it. So I immediately committed to leaving my Type-A at home, and I got on board with the spirituality of Mii Amo. I did not learn to meditate in a vortex, which most Sedona visitors are apparently wont to do, but I did intersperse my exercise and relaxation schedule with services like Harmony, which was a lot like therapy, and Aura Soma Color Reading, which was akin to having your manicurist predict your future based on your choice of Mink Muffs nail polish instead of Clambake or Starter Wife. And guess what? It was actually fascinating, inspiring, and fun.
Ultimately, the very best thing about Mii Amo was the setting. Laura and I took incredible hikes, clomping through mud and scrambling up rocks to vistas that, for the first time (ever?), deemed our normally loud mouths speechless — at least long enough to take a picture.